Peter Fedden always said he was going to be a lawyer.
So when the C.W. Post political science major announced eight years ago that he'd decided to switch tracks and buy the deli where he worked part-time, his mother's first thought was, "Oh, no you're not."
He said, "But mom, you're the one who always told me that you have to love what you do. And this is what I love," Fedden said, according to his mother, Nassau County court stenographer Kathi Fedden.
Fedden, 29, of Commack, died Wednesday after his car ran through an intersection and into a building in Hauppauge. No one else was hurt in the accident and police are still investigating.
"He was just larger than life," his mother said. "Everybody loved him."
Buying Commack Breakfast meant finishing college at night, borrowing money from his parents and working seven days a week, she said. But it also meant spending all day interacting with folks from the neighborhood. And that's what her son liked best.
"Someone he knew would come in and he'd say, 'Are you hungry today? I'm going to make you something special. You don't even know what I'm going to make you.' "
Fedden was born March 13, 1984, the first child of Kathi and George Fedden. He had a younger brother, Paul, who died at just one week old in 1995, and a sister, Jaimee Lee Fedden, Kathi Fedden said. Peter lived with his mom, his sister and grandmother Mary Fitzpatrick, Kathi Fedden said.
"He always said, 'I'll never leave you mom,' " she said. "His friend told me, 'I've never seen a kid love his mother as much as he loved you,' And I loved him just as much."
With such a close family, the deli soon became a family affair. His mother, father and sister all worked there part time, and even Fedden's grandmother cooked bacon for the customers, Kathi Fedden said.
Fedden made it a priority to help others, his mother said. At least once a year, around his birthday, he would shave his head to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, which funds research on childhood cancer.
On the day after he died, the windows of Fedden's restaurant were dark. "Our Beloved Peter Passed Away," a handwritten sign said. "God Bless His Soul."
Viewing for Fedden will be at Commack Abbey Sunday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m., his mother said. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Monday at 10:45 a.m. at St. Matthew Roman Catholic Church in Dix Hills, and burial will be at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.
In addition to his mother, sister and maternal grandmother, Fedden is survived by his father, who lives in Deer Park, and his paternal grandmother, Lorette Fedden, of upstate Newburgh.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the St. Baldrick's Foundation in memory of Peter Fedden/Commack Breakfast.